Trucks play an incredibly valuable role in getting materials, supplies, and products from distribution centers into stores, and in some cases directly to consumers. Indeed, the significance of truckers within our economy is reflected by the sheer number of trucks on the road: Statistics show around 40 million commercial trucks currently registered, with almost half of those being driven on any given day.
As with any kind of motor vehicle, trucks bring the possibility of accident and injury. In fact, accidents related to massive trucks can be especially catastrophic, which is why truck drivers need special training and licenses just to operate their equipment.
But how common are trucking accidents, exactly? What causes them? And what should truckers do to stay safe?
How Common are Trucking Accidents?
We’ll start with the question of how common these accidents are. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that operating commercial vehicles is the profession with the highest rate of fatalities. Thousands of people are killed in truck-related accidents every year, averaging out to almost a dozen per day.
Keep in mind that, due to the sheer size of commercial trucks, an accident involving one of these vehicles can potentially harm or kill many people, including the truck driver and the drivers and passengers in any surrounding cars.
What Causes Trucking Accidents?
So, what makes truck accidents so commonplace? There are a number of factors that contribute to truck-related catastrophes, including:
- Commercial vehicle drivers must often navigate treacherous weather conditions, which can be especially unsafe given the enormity of their vehicles.
- Many commercial drivers have to work long hauls, significantly increasing their risk of fatigue and impaired decision-making.
- Poorly maintained equipment can also be a factor, making it more difficult to maneuver a truck or to bring it to a prompt stop when needed.
But by far the most common cause of truck-related accidents is driver distraction. Even the best-trained drivers can have their eyes and attention diverted by phone calls, texting, eating in the cab, or dealing with kids in the backseat. And while some states have laws outlawing one or even two of these distractions, the risk level remains quite high.
How Can Truckers Reduce Their Risk of Accident?
Collisions involving massive trucks are quite common and very dangerous and can potentially claim the lives of countless people. The silver lining is that there are a few basic steps that trucking companies and vehicle operators can take to reduce their risk.
- Ensure that all vehicles are thoroughly inspected before purchase; poorly maintained equipment is a common cause of accidents, but it’s often very preventable. This is an important responsibility for any trucking company to take seriously.
- Along the same lines, trucking companies should ensure that their vehicles are regularly inspected by qualified mechanics.
- Trucking companies should have training and policies in place to minimize the risk of distracted driving.
- Commercial vehicle insurance is also a must, as it can help cover any legal obligations to those who might be injured in a truck-related accident.
When Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Even with the best precautions, truck accidents can still happen. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, make sure you hire a qualified personal injury attorney who has experience working with truck accidents.
At McLaurin Law, our lawyers can assist you with investigating the truck accident, gathering evidence, assessing damages, and negotiating for the best possible compensation for you from the trucking company or insurance company.
To find out more about your rights in the State of Texas, reach out to McLaurin Law Firm at any time.